One of the most common types of cancer in the U.S. is also among the most preventable.
It’s skin cancer-and more than one million cases of it will be diagnosed this year. In fact, skin cancer rates in America outnumber breast, lung and colon cancer combined, according to the American Cancer Society. Yet doctors say that some simple steps, such as limiting your sun exposure and wearing the right sunscreen, can ultimately help prevent skin cancer.
So why are skin cancer rates on the rise? According to a Harris Interactive survey, 40 percent of adults don’t wear sunscreen regularly. There’s a common misconception about getting a tan: There’s nothing healthy about a tan from any source, be it a tanning bed or lying on the beach. A tan is actually the skin’s response to an injury.
“If you know the facts about sun damage, there is no excuse not to wear sunscreen everyday,” says Dr. Darrell Rigel, a leading dermatologist. “It is important to wear sunscreen even if the sun isn’t shining because 80% of the sun’s UV rays pass right through the clouds.” Rigel advises people to wear sunscreen daily and choose a sunscreen formulated with both a high SPF and broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
A new breakthrough in sunscreen technology, called Helioplex, combines two FDA-approved sunscreens and delivers highly effective stabilized UVA and UVB protection to shield from both forms of UV damage.
“People don’t realize that there is a difference between UVA and UVB rays,” explains Rigel. Generally, UVB rays cause sunburn and are linked to skin cancer. In fact, Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is solely a measure of UVB protection. UVA rays penetrate skin more deeply, causing wrinkling and other aspects of “photoaging.” More importantly, UVA rays seem to increase UVB rays’ cancer-causing effects and may trigger some skin cancers, including melanoma.
Sunscreens containing Helioplex, such as Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 55, offer strong, stable protection to shield skin against both UVA and UVB rays.
In addition to wearing a sunscreen containing Helioplex on a daily basis, what else can you do to protect your skin? Rigel recommends staying out of the sun during peak hours, wearing a hat, long-sleeve shirt and long pants, and being sure to see your dermatologist annually for a full body skin cancer screening exam.